5 Tips for Organizing a Practical Financial Tracker
AUTHOR RASHELLE ISIP / CATEGORY ORGANIZATION / PUBLISHED: AUG-12-2019
Organizing a financial tracker is a great way to stay on top of your accounts and investments. What’s more, creating a tracker in your favorite notebook can help motivate you to record and review data. And who doesn’t love ticking off checkboxes or filling in goal charts?
But the million-dollar question that remains is: will you organize a tracker that will support your financial growth and habits? Your tracker should be smart, practical, and tailored to your needs. All the more reason to make your plan of attack from the very start!
Here are some tips to help you organize a financial tracker with ease:
Tools to help you do your best!
Get clear on your goals.
What financial goals do you want to achieve? Do you want to save a certain amount of money per month, track your expenses, follow a simple budget, or track bill paying? Likewise, what types of information would be useful to you in a few months’ or years’ time? Do you want to track specific data points, changes, or averages? These are all important points to consider when constructing your tracker. Once you get clear on each of your goals, you can create a tracker to appropriately support them to the fullest.
Decide on your level of detail.
Yes, tracking data is important. But you’ll also want to consider the level of detail at which you’ll do so. The reason for this is simple: the more detailed you are in your notes, the more flexibility you’ll have in analyzing information in the future. Tracking your expenses on a daily basis can provide you with a lot more detail than if you were to do so on a monthly basis. Think carefully about how you’d like to capture information in your tracker. How much detail is sufficient for your needs? Will you record entries rounded up the next dollar or use exact amounts? Will you make daily, weekly, or monthly entries? Do you want to include charts and graphs?
Simplify the data entry process.
Want to make your financial tracker a breeze to update and read? It’s as easy as creating a guide for recurring data entries and actions. Instead of writing out information in longhand, you’ll simply use brief abbreviations and symbols. If you were to create a monthly budget tracker, for example, you could use a dollar sign to denote paydays, and an asterisk for monthly savings deposits. Be sure to capture your abbreviations and symbols in a master guide for future reference.
Leave room for notes and reflection.
Keeping a running record of your actions and thoughts can be useful when tracking your finances. It’s like taking a snapshot in time of your habits and progress. Leave ample room for notes in your financial tracker, be it several pages at the front or back, or spaced between entries. You’ll have the space you need to record practical details, piece together thoughts, make thoughtful reflections, and capture brilliant “aha” moments.
Stick with the system you’ve created.
Finished laying out your financial tracker? You’ll want to do your best to follow the system you’ve so carefully created. Enter relevant data and review your overall progress on a regular basis. You’ll need a handful of data points to effectively analyze information. And what if you want to change or modify an existing system? Thoughtfully review your current tracker from the past several weeks or months. Which features do you want to keep, improve, or remove? You can then head back to the drawing board and create a new and improved version of your tracker.
About the Author
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps individuals and businesses better manage their time, energy, and resources. Her work has been featured in a variety of online and print media including Fast Company, The Atlantic, Business Insider, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, and Cosmopolitan. Visit her online at www.TheOrderExpert.com.